Trump's lead lawyer for federal Russia probe resigns

Mr John Dowd stepped down after reportedly concluding that Mr Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice.
Mr John Dowd stepped down after reportedly concluding that Mr Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump's lead lawyer for the federal special counsel probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election resigned yesterday.

Mr John Dowd stepped down after concluding Mr Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice, the New York Times reported, citing one person familiar with the matter.

Mr Dowd has been the lead lawyer since last summer, when longtime Trump personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz stepped down, but the latest shake-up to the legal team has been rumoured for several days.

The President was said to be pleased with Mr Dowd's resignation, as he had grown frustrated with him, particularly over the weekend when Mr Dowd called on the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation.

Mr Dowd said at first that he was speaking for the President, but he later backtracked. Mr Dowd's handling of the episode allegedly angered Mr Trump.

In an e-mail to The Washington Post, Mr Dowd wrote: "I love the President and wish him well."

Earlier this week, Mr Trump beefed up his legal team with a lawyer who accuses the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Justice Department of trying to frame Mr Trump with false charges of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election campaign, possibly signalling a more aggressive drive to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Washington lawyer Joseph diGenova will join the legal team this week, according to attorney Jay Sekulow, who also represents Mr Trump.

Last week, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that veteran Washington lawyer Emmet Flood is under consideration for a White House job assisting Mr Trump with the Russia probe.

Mr Mueller is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Moscow denies any interference and Mr Trump has said that there was no collusion.

REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2018, with the headline 'Trump's lead lawyer for federal Russia probe resigns'. Print Edition | Subscribe